I’ve been hearing about holographic cards/discs for a number of years now. 5 or so years ago I remember one startup with a website claiming massive storage capacities, and designs for 12cm discs, as well as business card size media. And the media wouldn’t need to spin, as it is scanned by the lasers, etc. A while back they closed down, and the site eventually vanished too.
This has been The Next Big Thing for a while now, but this time there are some big names involved. Maybe it will finally get traction. Though, unless they have some major cost advantage, I don’t see the point in producing 100-200GB discs. Sony has already shown 100GB Blu-ray discs that could be commercialized in a year or two, and 200GB discs in their lab that could come to market after that. If they released a 100GB disc that cost more than Blu-ray, with more expensive HW, Sony, and the read of the BD camp, would just push us 100GB Blu-ray to squeeze them out. I think they’d need to take a quantum leap forward.
Still, while I can see the value as backup media for large systems, now that massive hard drives are so cheap, I don’t really see the need for entertainment. HD isn’t going beyond 1080p any time soon, and 1080i seems more likely as the de facto high end. While HD-DVD is a bit tight (Die already!), Blu-Ray has more than enough capacity for long feature films, with extras, on a 50GB disc – especially if MPEG4 AVC or VC-1 are used (as they likely will be). Even if you had a 500GB disc, studios are reluctant to release entire film series on one disc, since it is a sales issue. Consumers have mental blocks about such things – the studio would, of course, want to charge for, say, three films. But the consumer things “I’m just buying one disc – why does it cost so much more than this other disc?” I know people in the DVD industry, and it was an issue there – in some cases they could put more episodes on a disc, but then people complained that they wanted another $5 – even if the cost per episode was the same or better as other releases, the sticker price was higher.